Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Party like it's 1929

Would living in a previous decade be easier than today? I often feel overwhelmed by the choice I have and the endless gadgets... my phone is like an extra limb.
P&G (the company behind Fairy, Pampers and Gillette to name a few) challenged me to see what it would be like to live as a Mum in the 1930's: 'Life before P&G', as part of their Changing Face of Motherhood campaign. I was sent a bag full of strange soaps, tubs of goo, toys and food with a camcorder to film how I got on.

I'm pretty low-maintenance so the first challenge would be easy... or so I thought.

I had to brush my teeth with pink toothpaste that tasted like Dettol, then I used thick, cold-cream cleanser on my face with a hot flannel. So far so good. A dusting of pink face powder – the smell reminded me of my Nan's compacts – a brush of blusher and mascara and I was done. I didn't look much different to usual to be honest, it was only the next day when I broke out in spots that I realised that this simple routine had a major flaw.

Breakfast looked like this...
Normally I would nuke porridge but this was cooked on the stove. I added some golden syrup (the bottle said it was 'the taste of yesteryear' so I figured that was ok) and some blackberries. It tasted a lot nicer than it looks!

The toy challenge went well. K is so young she can be kept amused by the simplest of things so she loved playing with the building blocks and her other, non-battery powered toys. If I was having to prise a DS or Wii away from an older child I imagine it would be a different story.

I was at this point that we had a hiccup. We spent the rest of the day second-hand car hunting. I don't imagine that many 1930's housewives had to do that. Or use their mobile phone to get directions. A big, fat fail on my part.

Back home I prepared the Hot Pot recipe that was in my booklet, it was the opposite of the porridge – looked good but tasted horrible.
And then jumped into the bath with K. Instead of shampoo I had to wash my hair with household soap which looked fine until the next day when it rapidly turned greasy and gave me an itchy scalp - lovely!

I couldn't bring myself to to the chores on the list and by this time Mr had turned on the telly so I felt quite deflated. I picked up where I left off for the remaining challenges.

I'd forgotten all about the lemon that was sent out in my pack (for my evening G&T right?) it now had a nice layer of mould, so the next task, cleaning windows, was done without it. This is actually the way I clean my windows anyway: hot water and white vinegar applied with a cloth and then scrunched up old newspaper to mop up the residue and leave them gleaming. At the time of making the video below, I thought the newspaper was for me to read while I put my feet up with a cup of tea – made with a strainer and loose leaves of course – but now I'm thinking it was probably for me to clean the windows with :(

Finally I did the washing using a washboard. Like most of the tasks it was a novelty, but to do this day in, day out would be exhausting. Can you imagine washing all those cloth nappies by hand?
K gives a helping hand

I think I'll stick with my washing machine, my gadgets and my overwhelming choice.

If you want to see how the challenge should have been done, check out Me and My Shadow, and Hot Cross Mum who really look the part!

Thank you to P&G for supplying all the bits needed for the tasks. This is a sponsored post in as much as I will be getting a day at a spa courtesy of P&G, although I think it's the least they can do given that the cold-cream gave me zits ha ha!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Afternoon tea on the London Eye

I went on the London Eye a few years back with my Mum, brother and other-halves. It was a rainy evening but was still very exciting and something that should be on the to-do list for any tourist, or any Londoner for that matter.

When I was asked if I'd like to have afternoon tea on the Eye as an early Mother's Day treat I of course said yes (especially after I'd had a look on the London Eye website to see what was in store - cake!) I didn't realise that there are so many special packages that can be booked, like beauty capsules or a chocolate tasting experience *drools*. You can even get married on it, and seeing as we haven't had confirmation on anything wedding related this could be a possibility!

K and Mr were welcome too and when we arrived at the ticket office it was overflowing with people. Seriously, if you plan to go, book your tickets in advance. Because we were going on a private pod we got to check-in at a priority desk with no queue and as K was already in tantrum mode this was a real blessing. She was given a little goodie bag and we were taken out to the Eye where once again we got to jump the queue. There was a slightly hairy moment (which could very well have been hangover induced*) when we all had to step onto the moving pod, me carrying K, Mr carrying the buggy and bags, but once aboard with the doors shut it was very calm and it was a beautiful, clear day.

The waiters unpacked juices and teas and started serving. There was also a face painter on board, who amazingly managed to do all the kids faces, plus a couple of adults(!) in the 30 minutes it takes to do a rotation.
K loved her flowers and kept showing them off. 

On the menu were canape sized scones with jam and cream, lemon drizzle cake, smoked salmon open sandwiches, egg and cress rolls and brownies. This is where we encountered a problem. These were all delicious and all placed on the bench in the middle of the pod. The pod is not huge but I still couldn't reach K before she got to 2 chocolate brownies and crammed one in her mouth whole. All I'm saying is I pity the people who had to go in the chocolate smeared pod after us, it was like some kind of toddler dirty protest.

It was a lovely trip and there is lots around the Southbank to look at afterwards. We felt very spoiled and I was happy that K enjoyed it way more than I thought she would. She has no fear and stood, face pressed up to the glass, going "woah!" and pointing at people, boats and ducks.

*Can I blame this on the MIL? If she hadn't offered to babysit the night before then I wouldn't have got drunk on 3 glasses of wine – what a lightweight!

Thank you to the London Eye for this treat and also for the tickets to the London Aquarium next door that we hope to visit soon. Check out their website for more details and offers.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Magpie Monday: Phone book

My blog has been pretty neglected lately. I've been working flat out and after sitting at a computer all day the last thing I want is more of the same at home.
The week before last I was working at Sheen, and with 9 charity shops within a 10 minute walk of each other I was getting geared up for some high octane lunchtime chazzing. Sadly I found that in the 2 years since I last worked there, one shop has shut down and the remaining ones have had Mary Portas style make-overs with prices to match. Still, with a bit of rummaging I found 3 tops and a woolly hat (to replace one we'd lost) for K, all 50p each and A Short History of Nearly Everything for the bargain price of 50p. It is a huge book, not very short at all, which K has been using it as a step to get up on our bed.
We popped to a car boot sale on Sunday, the first one I've been to this year, and got this sweet Jan Pienkowski pop-up book for 50p. I tried open-book surgery to replace the batteries for the telephone sound but no luck (perhaps that's a good thing?!)

There is a red theme for this week's Magpie Monday in honour of Comic Relief. I didn't find anything red so I'll leave you with a big red tongue instead!

Me and My Shadow

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Gallery: Tree with an exotic visitor

I was working in Sheen last week and I'm green with house envy. The place is full of pretty cottages and terraces with perfect gardens. While I was on my lunch break I walked down the aptly named lane 'Model Cottages' and took this photo.

Think the tree looks pretty boring? Take a closer look...

The theme for this week's gallery at Sticky Fingers is 'trees'.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Hotel Chocolat giveaway winner

...Kelly at A Place of My Own.

Thanks for all your entries. If you didn't win and want to find more Hotel Chocolat giveaways then check out the Jam and Cream Virtual Easter Egg Hunt!

I picked the winning comment using this random generator after discounting any spam entries, accidental duplicates and non-UK entries.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Hotel Chocolat review & giveaway

Say hello to the sole survivor of my Nibblatron chocolate army.
These dinky milk chocolate robots arrived in a box of 8 and reminded me of tin toys from the 50s. I did think they were quite boyish, even the packaging was blue, and on further inspection at the Hotel Chocolat website I saw that there is also a pink box of Twinkle Toes ballerinas available for girls.

The chocolate itself was delicious, the 40% cocoa content is quite high compared to other brands, so you get a depth of flavour. Did you know that Hotel Chocolat grow their own ethically produced cocoa? And that they do really have a hotel? (Now if they ever want that reviewing I'm first in the queue!)

Mr kept asking me how many Nibblatrons were his and I found K wrestling with the box on the floor. She is very dexterous where food is concerned.

I thought the design was lovely, although some of my Nibblatrons feet were sloped so they didn't quite stand up to attention properly. And it's impossible not to bite their heads off first. I think these would make cool name holders for a boy's birthday party or could be a fun cake topper.

The retail price of £5 seemed a bit steep for something aimed at kids but is in line with the rest of Hotel Chocolat's pricing, and I would consider paying this for a gift.

Hotel Chocolat also have some gorgeous Mother's day and Easter gifts at the moment. This egg is my favourite... (at £24 it's well out of my budget but I can dream!)
You Crack Me Up Extra Thick Easter Egg

I've kindly been offered a box of Nibblatrons to give away to a reader. To enter, leave a comment below and tell me what your favourite item at the Hotel Chocolat website is.

If you follow my blog you can have an additional entry – leave a separate comment to let me know.

A winner will be chosen at random on 16th March at 9pm. Make sure I have a way of contacting you if you win. Good luck!

Disclaimer: For the purpose of this review I was sent a complimentary box of Nibblatron chocolate. No other payment was received. This review is my honest and unbiased opinion.


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